On April 22, 2001, Trailer Park Boys premiered on Canadian TV channel Showcase. A follow-up to the 1999 movie of the same name, TPB grew from a small, fringe mockumentary comedy to a global sensation. Let’s take a look back at Season 1 of Trailer Park Boys 20 years later.
The show picks up where the 1999 movie ended with Ricky and Julian getting arrested, and we time jump forward to 2001 where the boys are getting released back to the park. I enjoyed the Wizard of Oz-esque aesthetic as the show transitioned from black and white like the movie and into color for its release.
While there is ample stoner humor and greaseball antics throughout Season 1, there is also an unmistakable amount of humility and emotional depth to the characters. While the show hadn’t quite figured out how to fully deploy Mike Smith’s talents playing the character of Bubbles, many other characters laid the groundwork for how they’d evolve over the next two decades of the show’s existence.
The inaugural season is a short six episodes, but there are some real standouts. We learn in episode one that Julian is effectively like the park’s big brother/oldest cousin. He’s got everyone’s best interest in mind, and he doesn’t mind breaking the law to achieve that. Ricky is the “screw-up” who you can’t help but find yourself rooting for. John Dunsworth played Jim Lahey, trailer park supervisor, and it is one of my favorite roles I’ve seen on the screen or stage.
In a lot of ways, Trailer Park Boys was ahead of its time. We are talking about an OG of the mockumentary game; this show came out before The Office premiered in the UK. TPB was ahead of its time regarding some social situations, too. Jim Lahey’s relationship with his coworker wasn’t used for shock factor, it didn’t become the butt of a joke. For a show in 2001, it would have been far too easy to do it that way.
The fact that this show/cinematic universe is not only relevant 20 years later, but putting out more content than ever is a testament to the hard work of the teams on all sides of the camera. Hopefully, the boys have another 20-plus in them!